The Senior Planning Officer provided the Committee with an overview of the application and outlined the key issues in the assessment of the application, that included:
· The acceptability of the proposed use at this location;
· The acceptability of the design;
· Impact on surrounding context;
· Access, parking and traffic management; and
· Environmental Considerations - Drainage, Contamination, Noise.
She informed the Committee that the proposed uses had been considered acceptable in the location and that the proposal had been the subject of a Pre-application Discussion (PAD) and that the Urban Design Officer and Historic Environment Division had been content with the proposal.
She pointed out that NI Water had submitted an objection to the application on the grounds of insufficient wastewater drainage infrastructure capacity and foul sewage network capacity but that it would be considered unreasonable for the Council to withhold planning permission for the proposed development given NI Water’s pre-existing commitments to connect to significant levels of un-implemented development across the city that included the extant permission on part of the site.
She added that Royal Mail had also submitted an objection to the proposal and that Environmental Health had considered the Noise Impact Assessments accompanying the application and had no objection, subject to the recommended conditions relating to noise mitigation controls.
She stated that, having regard to the development plan, relevant policy context and other material considerations, that included the representations, the proposed development was considered acceptable and it was recommended that full planning permission be granted subject to conditions and a Section 76 planning agreement.
The Chairperson welcomed Mr. C. Shanks, Agent, Mr. J. Mulholland from Todd Architects and the Applicant, Mr. M. Adams to the meeting.
Mr. Shanks explained that the proposal was a substantial investment in the city which would sustain 400 construction jobs over a 24-30 year ? build which would bring further spending power and benefit.
He stated that the application was focused on a very high quality of design in response to the site’s context and setting and would create a variety of unit sizes to attract a wide mix of tenants and that 86% of the units exceeded the space standards which demonstrated the quality of the accommodation offer.
He pointed out that the application was aligned with the Council’s key vision of encouraging and directing a focus on city living and would delivery a highly sustainable, high quality, new residential community that would see transformation in the physical linkages and connectivity from the city centre to City Quays and Sailortown and would bring vitality to the area with increased footfall which would help to sustain and boost existing and emerging new businesses.
In response to a question from a Member with regard to ground floor parking and residential lounges creating dead frontage rather than active frontage and the composition of open space provision and its shadow analysis, the Senior Planning Officer stated that the ground floor parking did provide non-active frontage but that it had been considered that the proposed design of the steel fretwork which would be linked to historic references from the area was an appropriate design solution and that the Senior Urban Design Officer had been satisfied with the solution.
She added that the residential lounges would be glazed areas which would be activated by the movement of residents in and out of those spaces and provided the Committee with a breakdown of the composition of the amenity space provision in the proposal. With regard to a shadow analysis, she stated that the applicant had provided a 3D model which had been interrogated by officers who were satisfied that there would be adequate levels of light in the internal courtyard and no adverse impacts on the development in that regard.
A Member enquired as to the exposure to wind on the rooftop amenity spaces. In response the Senior Planning Officer stated that microclimate studies had been provided and considered by the Council’s Landscape Team which had offered no objection.
The Chairperson put the officer recommendation to the Committee and upon audible dissent, called for a vote, with four Members voted for the recommendation and ten against and it was declared lost.
Moved by Councillor Garrett,
Seconded by Councillor Maskey and
Resolved - That the Committee defers consideration of the application for further exploration of the provision of affordable housing within the scheme and to address concerns regarding open space and amenity standards.